[ExI] Pure Philosophy Dispute: Are Categories Objective?

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Fri Jun 22 07:06:51 UTC 2007

On 22/06/07, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:

> Can you imagine an alien intelligence that reached our
> solar system that would not place between 8 and maybe
> 20 objects in orbit around our sun in a special category
> that we might as well call "planets"?  They would
> definitely see that about out to 2 AU there are four
> outstanding real objects (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and
> Mars) that objectively existed and were categorically
> distinct from other debris orbiting the sun.  It's hard
> to believe that any typical evolutionarily derived
> intelligence that managed to reach our solar system
> would be incapable of so distinguishing these objects,
> and I say that it is *no* coincidence that they formulate
> almost exactly the same categorization that we have.
> Why?  Because that categorization is objective, and
> does *not* merely a result of processing in the minds
> of "observers".

How could you be sure of that? If they are gas giant dwellers they
might just lump the rocky planets in with the asteroids and specks of
dust. Look at the trouble we have had classifying Pluto, Eris and
Ceres (which, following Amara's links, I discovered was considered a
planet between Mars and Jupiter for a number of decades after its

Stathis Papaioannou

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